Japan’s Tsukuba Center Resumes ISS Operations

by

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on March 22 resumed control of its Kibo space station laboratory module and H-2 Transfer Vehicle (HTV) from the Tsukuba Space Center.

Operations were temporarily transferred to NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston following the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan March 11.

Tsukuba was shut down “due to damage and security issues caused by the earthquake,” JAXA said in a March 23 statement announcing the resumption of operations at the center’s Space Station Operations Facility.

“This week, safety of the ground facilities was confirmed, the ground systems were activated, and the network communications are on line again,” JAXA said.

Japan’s second HTV vehicle, dubbed Kounotouri (or “white stork”), was launched in January to resupply the international space station. It is due to undock from the station at the end of March and burn up upon re-entering the atmosphere.

Kibo is the space station’s largest single module. The three-piece science facility was flown to the station by U.S. space shuttles between March 2008 and July 2009.